Rural Zimbabweans eager to get Covid-19 vaccine

By Lemuel Chekai  

Zimbabwe’s rural population are willing to take Covid-19 vaccines even though the rate of inoculations has been affected by the erratic supply of vaccines, a Unicef Zimbabwe survey has revealed.

The survey, which was carried among village health workers (VHWs), sought to understand challenges being encountered in the roll-out of the vaccines in rural parts of the country.

“General overview of the poll is that communities are willing to get vaccinated, but the issue of supply shortages indicate a major challenge,” the survey report says in part.

“Communities are also willing to observe the prevention measures, but issues of poverty are cited, and issues of hesitancy are prevalent in all communities indicating further need for community engagement.”

The VHWs attributed the vaccine hesitancy to fear (40 percent), lack of trust in the vaccine (35 percent),  religious beliefs (11 percent),  and lack of information (nine percent).

“Many believe the vaccine contains the coronavirus and therefore it is a ploy to target Africans with the intention of genocide,” the report added.

“This perception is usually supported by the certainty that the cases in Africa were much lower than other parts in the world and so whoever is behind this depopulation conspiracy requires a new strategy to spread the virus in Africa.”

Key community issues that reinforce positive behaviours to continue practising safety measures included fear of getting sick/death (46 percent), encouragement from leaders and frontline workers (34 percent), increases in Covid-19 cases in an area (seven percent), the need to carry out business as usual (seven percent), and fear of getting arrested (four percent).

In Manicaland, 1,723 respondents, Mashonaland East (1,238), Mashonaland West (1,097), Masvingo (1,085), Mashonaland Central (782), Midlands (712), Matabeleland South (447), and Matabeleland North (428),  were surveyed.

On September 16, Zimbabwe surpassed the two million milestone of fully vaccinated people. 

The government says it wants to vaccinate 10 million people or 60 percent of the population by the end of the year to reach herd immunity.

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